Software Engineering – The Definitive Guide

Software Engineering

Find out what is software engineering, its history, emergence, and benefits. We have also discussed its types and software engineering as a career option.

Software engineering is generally a process of analyzing user requirements and then designing, building, and testing software applications that will further satisfy those requirements.

The institute of electrical and electronics engineers (IEEE) systems defines  software engineering as “the systematic application of scientific and technological knowledge, methods and experience to the design implementation, testing and documentation of software.”

Software engineering is a division of computer science that includes the development and building of computer systems software and application software. The computer system software is composed of programs that include computing utilities and operating systems. Application software consists of user-focused programs that include web browsers, database programs, etc.

Nowadays, there is a lot of investment going on globally into software engineering due to the increasing reliance on mobile technology, venture capital-backed startups, the growing complexity of technology and emerging industries. There is a high demand for skilled and qualified software engineers, and this demand seems to have no end. This demand is backed by changing economic landscape and is further supported by the need for technology solutions. With a countless number of physical devices around the world now using the internet, even collecting and sharing data, all industries are quickly becoming technology-driven the Information Technology Sectors. Hence, there is enormous scope for software engineers in this field.

The Emergence Of Software Engineering

The emergence of Software Engineering

(The software crisis and its solution)

In the late 1960s, many software projects were failing. There were many complaints that software has become expensive, and it was going out of budget for the users. Other software was unreliable and costly too. And the larger software was challenging to operate and, at the same time, very expensive to maintain. And lots of low budgets software were not able to satisfy the growing requirements of the customers and users. These cases let to increase demand for new software. In this case, the rate of demand was faster as compared to the ability to generate new software. And all these things lead to the “software crisis.”

The solution to the software crisis was made by transforming and unorganized coding effort into a software engineering discipline. The engineers modeled IT companies to streamline operations and deliver software meetings to the customer’s expectations and requirements. The software engineering principles started catching fire in the late 1970s. And by the 1980s, it witnessed the growth of computer-aided software engineering (CASE). By the 1990s there was an increased emphasis on the management aspects of project standard of quality and process like ISO 9001.

Benefits of Software Engineering for society

Solving the problem of unemployment: An essential benefit of software engineering to the society is that it can cure your the biggest challenge of any country – unemployment. Due to the ever-growing demands of software engineers around the globe, people with expertise in software engineering do not sit idle. They will always find at least one job with themselves.

Aiding healthcare process: Software engineers have designed software which, with the help of data science and artificial intelligence, allows individuals as well as organizations to keep track of the health of its citizens. They’re now able to read the patterns of diseases or health behavior more accurately, and this improves the accuracy of treatment as well.

Expanding communication: One of the significant impacts made by software engineering is that it has made the whole world look like a small place. Everything is available at your fingertips. Social media, video calling, and other chatting applications, as well as document sharing, have enabled us to save a reasonable amount of time and hence utilizing that time in doing something productive.

Sofware Engineers

Software engineers are the most sought after professionals in today’s world by a mile. The software engineers have expertise in programming languages, software development, and computer operating systems, and their applications all the educating principles they have learned during the education in software creation. They create a customized system for their clients for organizations by applying these engineering principles to every stage of the software development process.

What Does A Software Engineer Do

What does a software engineer do?

As mentioned earlier, software engineers are highly sought after professionals. The software engineers residing in high demand areas receive multiple inquiries from recruiters in that particular place. The software engineers generally apply mathematical knowledge and the principles of computer science to develop computer software.

A software engineer can develop many types of software, like operating systems, computer games, business applications, and network control systems. Changes in these fields of this profession evolving at a rapid pace.

While working with the client, the software engineers will typically analyze the client’s needs and demands and then design tests and develop the computer software accordingly. They have sound knowledge of computer systems, software structures, and recognizing the limitations of existing hardware.

Career Path of a Software Engineer

In today’s growing world, technology is showing no signs of slowing down its growth. And hence opportunities for software engineers are increasing along with it. Software engineers who have valuable interpersonal skills, management roles are widely available. Interpersonal skills, also known as soft skills include communication skills, skills to manage conflict, leadership skills, listening skills. negotiating skills as well as team working skills. Anyone having the skills has a majority of options available for them in the field of software engineering like a senior engineer, team leader, team architect or IT manager, and even vacancies in senior management are available for them. The speed of growth in software engineering career depends on a person’s technical ability, analytical thinking as well as communication skills.

Career Path Of A Software Engineer

A software engineers career path may look like this-

Junior web developer: This is an initial stage that is the starting position in a career in software engineering. Individuals freshly graduated without a degree in computer science, programming, or having gone through some computer programming course can get recruited. The junior web developers are generally not expected to have any previous programming experience. But they are supposed to possess a working knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery. This knowledge can provide it in multiple online coding schools or coaching centers available almost everywhere. There is a considerable difference between the salary of a junior and senior developer, and it is wholly based on their level of experience.

A software developer or senior software developer: Software developer or senior software web developer is a person who has several years of professional programming experience. He can write complex codes, possess index knowledge of databases, application services, and application lifecycle development. They have even become proficient in creating and tier applications. Software engineers, who do not like the idea of management, who prefer to stick with writing code can spend many users are there and their careers in being a senior software developer. Although, there is no doubt about the fact that there is a message price on pay scale once he gets promoted into the management team.

Lead software engineer, technical architect: A software engineer who wants additional responsibilities and more challenge, but is not interested in the field of management can become a lead software engineer. This role may be an excellent fit for a person with this mentality. Leading engineers do software engineers who have several uses of experience and expertise in a specific subject matter. Because of this reason, many engineers and programmers look for the guidance of a lead engineer. The position of the technical architect, with only its engineers, is widely seen as a middle-level management position. The role of the professional architect is considered to be the highest position on the technical side of the company, and there is no scope for something more. The primary responsibility of a lead software engineer is to design complex systems that other developers will implement.

Development Team Leader, Software Development Manager: This is the next step in the career of a software engineer. Management open in walls and tell different responsibilities like managing teams of developers, managing large-scale projects as well as hiring and firing developers. Middle-level managers keep track of productivity and workflow in the department and report it to a senior manager or software development manager. The software development manager coordinates the needs of the project leader with the development team, which requires excellent people skills and the ability to resolve conflict effectively. The senior manager or the software development manager also has a responsibility to add or terminate employees to the team whenever he finds it necessary. It can be seen as a big challenge initially, but when mastered, it turns out to be a powerful leadership.

Director, Vice President, Chief Technology Officer: The senior management, which can include a title such as director, vice president, principal technology officer report to the CEO of the company’s board of directors. The role of senior managers includes overseeing the work of other managers and middle-level managers and is responsible for setting strategic and corporate goals. Assign duties to various departments and are also responsible for supervising, hiring, and firing the mid-level managers.

Software Engineering Vs. Computer Science

People who are interested in a career revolving around software development and computer technology tend to focus on either software engineering or computer science. Earning a degree in any of these fields prepares the students for a variety of software related to rules in the information technology industry.

Software Engineering Vs. Computer Science

Although these two fields found synonyms and can have some kind of similarities, they are not precisely the same, and they have distinguishable differences that set them apart. We will first look at the similarities these two different fields share, and then we will see the difference between computer science and software engineering.

Similarities

Both software engineering and computer science are concerned with computer software and almost everything related to computers. For example, those having degrees in either of these two fields main specialize in programming language development, system software system architecture, etc. Both fields require the student to develop a sound knowledge of computers and especially computer software, with its various applications.

In-depth analysis of the Difference

Software Engineering Computer Science
Software engineering is a field mostly focussing on the application of engineering processes to the creation, maintenance, and development of software for a variety of different purposes. Computer science takes a comprehensive approach to the study of the principles and use of computers that covers both theory and application. This field focusses on the understanding and application of both summarized and detailed knowledge.
Software engineering generally focuses on the following topics:

  • Computing essentials;
  • Mathematical and engineering fundamentals;
  • Software verification and validation;
  • Software process;
  • Professional practice;
  • Software modeling and analysis;
  • Requirements analysis and specification;
  • Software design;
  • Software quality and security.

 

Computer science generally focuses on the following topics:

  • Algorithms and complexity
  • Architecture and organization
  • Computational science
  • Discrete structures
  • Graphics and visualization
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Information assurance and security
  • Information management
  • Programming languages
  • Software development fundamentals
  • Intelligent systems
  • Networking and communications
  • Operating systems
  • Platform-based development
  • Parallel and distributed computing
  • Software engineering
  • Systems fundamentals
  • Social issues and professional practice
In general, students in this field will not receive training on hardware development; however, they will gain knowledge on the interaction between hardware and software. Understanding the relation between hardware and software will be included in curricula; however, specific training on hardware development generally will not.
Students will likely take classes on algorithms; however, it will not be a focal point of the degree. Algorithm training is a vital part of a Computer Science degree.
Students studying software engineering will likely take courses on project management, both in undergraduate and graduate programs. Project management is often included in the computer science curriculum, sometimes as part of a software engineering course.
While pursuing a degree in software engineering, students may have the chance to focus on several different specializations, like network-centric systems, modeling and simulation, games and entertainment systems, digital and embedded systems, and other areas. Depending on the institution, a wide array of specializations may be available, including a focus on artificial intelligence, mobile and internet computing, security, real-world computing, and theory.
A degree in software engineering may include careers in software development, information research, network architecture; computer systems analysis; web development. A degree in computer science may include careers as computer and information research scientists, computer programmers; information security analysts; computer network architects; systems analysts; software developers, or web developers.
Emerging occupations related to software engineering depend on the state of software and technology in the future. But, those with a degree in software engineering may find work in artificial intelligence, app development, and software development for any future technologies that arise. Emerging positions in the field of computer science may include careers in cloud computing, robotics and artificial intelligence, application development, and forensic analysis. By nature, this list will continue to grow in the future.
Software engineers generally do not find themselves in research-based positions, but they should be particularly familiar with the development of software. Computer scientists can be asked to develop new coding languages or researching new technology to extend the boundaries of the industry.

Challenges to Software Engineering

Software Engineering Challenges

Software engineering has a well defined and systematic approach to developing software. This approach is said to be the most effective way of building high-quality software. However, despite this orderly approach in software development, there are still some serious issues or challenges faced by software engineering. Some of these challenges are as follows:

Changes in software development are inevitable. Nowadays, changes occur swiftly, and accommodating these changes to develop new software is one of the chief problems faced by software engineers.

The development in computer and software technology has strictly recommended for the changes like software systems. The software systems that cannot follow these changes are not of much use. Thus, one of the challenges of this field is to produce high-quality software adapting to the varying needs within acceptable schedules. To meet this challenge, the object-oriented method is preferred, but accommodating changes to software and its continuance within the affordable cost is still a challenge.

Informal communications take up a significant portion of the time spent on software projects. Such depletion of time delays the completion of projects at the specified time.

The techniques used to develop small or medium-scale projects are not suitable when it comes to developing large-scale or complex systems.

The user generally has the same idea about the scope and necessities of the software system. This usually results in building software, which does not meet the user’s needs.

Changes are usually mentioned in documents without following any particular standard procedure. Hence, authentication of all such changes often becomes difficult.

I hope you find this guide useful. If so, do share it with others who are excited to explore Software Engineering and other topics that we publish here on our blog. If you have any questions related to this article, feel free to ask us in the comments section.

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